What Shall We Do with Jesus?

by Doy Moyer

Jesus does not allow us to be neutral about Him. We are not left with the option of just calling Jesus a good man while denying His claims. If He was not who He claimed to be, He was delusional at best and a lying manipulator at worst. Or if, as some argue, it’s all legend, then He is the product of liars who had no reason to pass such a false story around in the face of their own peril. Again, there is no neutrality here. We are either for Jesus or against Him (Matthew 12:30).

Pilate asked the people this question when they chose to release Barabbas over Jesus. “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify Him!” And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27:22-23, NASB95). Is that our answer, too? When we choose sin over Jesus, we are essentially saying, “Crucify Him.” It is even possible that in departing from the Lord, we crucify Jesus afresh and put Him to open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6). Our choices matter, for by our actions, we tell Jesus what we want to do with Him.

Like Peter, we might deny Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). Like Judas, we might betray Him (Matthew 26:47-50). Like Saul, we might persecute Him (Acts 9:4-5). And like Pharisees and others, we might test, plot, and try to find ways to justify why we shouldn’t accept Him. The responses to Jesus ran across the spectrum back then as they do today. We all must come face to face with what we will do with Jesus.

Many did believe and accept Jesus and His claims. While Peter denied Jesus with great regret, Peter also showed tremendous insight and boldness in confessing Him. “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Jesus asked. While there were various opinions about Him (some said He was Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets), when Jesus turned that question directly to the disciples, Peter responded, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:13-20). Jesus commended this answer. Ultimately, it is the answer we must all give. “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).

When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), he showed that the events occurring that day were what had been prophesied by Joel. He quoted from David in the Psalms to show how there was anticipation of messianic resurrection, then argued that Jesus fulfilled the promise given to David that he would have a descendent to sit on his throne (II Samuel 7:12-13). Jesus was raised from the dead to sit on that throne and so is declared to be Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).

The message about Christ moved the hearers, prompting the same essential question: “What shall we do?” Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Over three thousand did so on that day. What would they do with Jesus? They would accept the truth about Him, respond to His gospel, and be added to His body by the Lord. He desires all to make this choice.

The book of Acts provides many positive and negative examples of people responding to this question about what to do with Jesus. We see thousands of Jews and Gentiles submitting themselves to the Lord. We also see many who disbelieved and, in some cases, tried to cause problems for the Lord’s people. Acts is all about what people do with Jesus.

One reason Jesus has been a divisive figure is because He forces people to deal with the most important questions of life. When we choose Christ, we are choosing self-denial (Luke 9:23), submission to others (Philippians 2:3-4), being living sacrifices, and replacing the old with the new (Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:1-11). “What shall we do with Jesus?” is not a question that can be dismissed, for in that very act, we are giving a definitive answer of choosing self over the Lord.

Is there any more important question we may answer? Our answer will affect every part of life, for once we put on Christ, everything we do will be to glorify Him (I Corinthians 10:31), please Him (II Corinthians 5:9), and live for Him (II Corinthians 5:15). Whatever we do will be done in His name as we thank Him for His grace and mercy (Colossians 3:17). Yet once we understand our need for Him and what He has done for us, how can we turn away from Him who died for us?

Make it personal. What shall I do with Jesus? What shall you do with Jesus?

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